Carpenters and joiners might need 5 main types of insurance: public liability, professional indemnity, employers’ liability, tools and equipment insurance and personal accident cover. According to NimbleFins, you might need these different types of carpenter insurance if you’re running a company or partnership or are working as self-employed. Anyone working as a carpenter or joiner should have the right type of business insurance to protect themselves, their business and their clients. Woodworking can be a very rewarding profession, but it can also be dangerous.
Carpenter public liability insurance
Public liability insurance is generally considered a must-have by all tradesmen, including carpenters and joiners. It’ll protect you if a customer or other third party sustains property damage or injury as a result of your work and believes you’re at fault, leading to them suing you for compensation. It could be something as simple as staining their carpet or something as serious as leaving a toolbox out that results in them falling and sustaining an injury that results in them having to take time off work. Public liability can cover both for compensation awarded against you and any legal expenses you need to pay as a result of your legal defence in court.
Employers’ liability insurance
Employers’ liability is a legal requirement for any business in the UK that hires staff, whether they’re full-time or part-time, employee or contractor, or even paid in cash. It’ll cover you if they become unwell or are injured while working for you and sue you, believing you’re at fault. As with public liability, it’ll cover any compensation a court awards in their favour as well as costs you incur during your legal defence.
Professional indemnity insurance
A carpenter or joiner may very well need professional indemnity insurance if they are not just building but also designing wooden structures. Or giving advice. In a situation where a poor design, advice or service causes a problem and costs the client money to remedy, a client can sue. In those types of situations, professional indemnity can be of help. PI insurance can cover legal expenses to defend a claim and any compensatory payments the professional is found liable to pay. It can even help defend against frivolous claims.
For example, consider a joiner paid to design and build a unique staircase out of expensive, rare wood for an unusual and difficult space. If they make a mistake with the design and the stairs do not fit the space, causing structural damage to the stairs and cosmetic damage to the surrounding area during installation, the client could try to sue the joiner.
Tools and Equipment insurance
Tools and equipment cover protects the tools of your trade against theft, accidental damage, or loss. It’ll cover the costs of paying for a replacement/equivalent piece of equipment so you can quickly return to work. This also serves to limit any negative impact on your clients. Tool cover isn’t a legal requirement, but if you feel there are tools or equipment that you’d struggle to operate without (or might not immediately be able to afford to replace), then it’s certainly worth considering.
Personal Accident Cover
As carpentry and joinery deal with dangerous tools, it can be wise to buy personal accident cover. The terms vary, but a plan can provide some replacement income level if you’re not working due to a work injury. There can also be a lump sum payment in cases of severe, life-changing injuries or death.
Also, a carpenter would need to ensure they have the right vehicle insurance. When the cover is needed for tools and equipment stored or transported in a vehicle, a commercial vehicle policy will probably be needed. If tools cover is not needed and you’re using a personal vehicle just to drive between different work sites, a carpenter would still need to ensure they have declared and paid for business use driving, at the very least.
Regular social, domestic and pleasure driving doesn’t cover transit between multiple work locations. For this, you must have business use vehicle insurance.
What does a carpenter do?
A carpenter is trained to fit and install wooden structures, such as fitting floors, stairs, window frames, shelves, cupboards, architraves and skirtings, locks and latches, and more.
What does a joiner do?
A joiner is specially trained to construct joints, such as halving joints, through mortice and tendon joints, housing joints, angled half joints, bridle joints, haunched mortice and tendon joints, stub mortice and tendon joints. This means a joiner is skilled at making doors and window frames, creating fitted or bespoke furniture and building stairs. A joiner might build a set of stairs, and a carpenter might install them. Or a tradesman skilled in both carpentry and joinery can do both the building and the installing.